How to read the numbers and understand how Istanbul’s political polarization works
HONG KONG — Istanbul, Turkey — The last time I went to Istanbul I was surprised to see the same people as before.
But today, this is a different country.
The streets are packed with thousands of people in the morning rush hour.
Some are in masks, some don’t even wear them.
They are protesting for the first time since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent election win.
Istanbul has become an urban mecca in recent years, where thousands of Turks took to the streets during the failed military coup.
Many of them now sit on the sidewalks of central Istanbul and shout, demanding that the government step down.
Tens of thousands of protesters are camped outside the main government building in the heart of the city, and they are demanding that Erdoğan step down for failing to address the country’s problems.
Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the largest political party in Turkey and it is leading the anti-government protests.
This is the fifth straight year the protests have gathered steam in Istanbul.
There has been a massive spike in police violence in recent weeks.
Police say more than 20,000 people have been arrested in the last five months, according to Turkish media.
During the military coup, Erdoğan accused thousands of demonstrators of being spies, and authorities have since cracked down on the pro-Kurdish groups that have taken up arms against the government.
In this image taken on July 29, 2017, Turkish police detain protesters during a protest against Erdoğan in Istanbul, after he won a second term in office.
Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdoğan has called on protesters to “defend the rights” of his government in an apparent reference to the failed coup attempt that toppled his ruling party in July.
A protester stands outside the Turkish parliament building during a demonstration in Istanbul on July 30, 2017.
Protesters are holding banners reading “Erdogan, stop” during a rally in Ankara on July 31, 2017.(AP Photo/Bulent Kilic)The government’s response to the coup has been largely ineffective, but Erdoğan continues to use the demonstrations as an excuse to crack down on dissent.
On Monday, the government issued an order that the prime minister and other top officials be detained for up to two years for inciting and participating in a “terrorist organization” that is “linked to terrorist organizations.”
This order was immediately challenged by the pro.dogan party, which said it was a violation of Article 44 of Turkey’s Constitution, which allows the government to arrest and detain citizens “on grounds of criminal offenses.”
Eduard Bassel, the leader of the prodogan, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the order was unconstitutional.
Bassel said Erdoğan is “trying to change the constitution to legitimize his rule,” but the constitution doesn’t specify what constitutes a “criminal offense.”
Protestors hold up banners reading, “Eridoğan, stop!” as they gather at the Turkey-Syria border, in Istanbul September 24, 2017(Photo: Anatoly Kurmanaev/Reuters)It is unclear whether the government will face any legal action from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over the orders.
However, Turkey has been one of the countries most vocal critics of the ECHR.
Last year, the EHR ruled that Turkey violated the rights of the imprisoned former Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of organizing a failed coup in 2013.
Gul was freed in January 2016 after serving six years.